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These are all politics - Gov. Suarez

by Raadee Sausa
April 2, 2021

These are all politics - Gov. Suarez
Quezon Gov. Danilo Suarez (Photo from Danilo E. Suarez FB Page)

LUCENA CITY - Quezon lawmaker denied the reports tagging him as New People's Army (NPA) protector saying this are all politics and no basis.

"They have no basis, these are allegations. Maybe it's all about politics because the Elections is almost a year from now," Gov. Danilo Suarez of Quezon told the Sentinel Times in a mobile interview on Monday.

Earlier, a non-government organization has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate the governor, his congressman-son, and a Provincial Board member and her husband for allegedly protecting members of the NPA and financing the recruitment of rebel fighters for the communist group.

As its basis for the request, the Citizens Movement Against Corruption, Crime, Illegal Drugs and Gambling Inc. headed by Prof. Salvador Singson de Guzman cited a complaint-affidavit filed by two alleged former top NPA insurgents charging Suarez, his son Second District Rep. David Jay-Jay Suarez, and Provincial Board Member Rhodora Blas-Tan and her husband Jeson Haboc-Tan in administrative cases for disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines and the Filipino people, grave misconduct, dishonesty and oppression.

The complainants also filed criminal cases against the three public officials and Haboc-Tan for violating provisions of Sections 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Republic Act (RA) 10168, or “An Act Defining the Crime of Financing Terrorism”; Sections 10,12,14 and 15 of RA 10592 or the “Anti-Terrorism Law”; and obstruction of justice under Paragraph C of the Revised Penal Code.

The administrative and criminal charges were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on March 12.

“I heard a recent speech of President Duterte on March 6, 2021, where he ordered members of the military and the police to kill communist rebels who resist and defy appeals of duly constituted authorities to surrender and return to a life of peace with their families and where he called the NPA as a band of bandits without any ideology,” de Guzman said.

But, according to him, it is his belief that the insurgency would fester if politicians who allegedly abetted the rebellion would continue to coddle the NPA and its fighters.

De Guzman and his group said the two alleged top NPA members said Gov. Suarez and the other respondents acted as their alleged protectors in recruiting fighters for the rebel army, providing them money, guns, ammunition, clothing, and other needs in their training.

According to the two ex-rebels, their unit was used by Suarez and Blas-Tan as their a private armed group in their campaign sorties in 2019 local and national elections.

During and after the polls, they said they used the house of the Tan couple in Zone 3, Poblacion in Atimonan town as their hideout, for their meetings and as recruitment headquarters.

The two ex-combatants added that Suarez, his son, and the Tan couple provided weekly cash allowances, rice, clothing, and other forms of assistance for their recruiting and training activities that had been promised them during the 2019 elections.

De Guzman did not name the two former NPA rebels and only identified them as Ka Juaning, who claimed to be a battalion commander of the NPA’s Hukbong Makabayan at Makabansa Southern Luzon Operation Wing based in Rizal province, and Ka Ruping, who said he was the head of the same Operation Wing based in Quezon and Laguna provinces.

In their complaint-affidavit, the NPA top leaders named Roberto Tecson alias Ka Bobby as their overall leader, but they were not sure if he is still alive or already dead after being wounded in a clash with soldiers and policemen in Libon, Albay in the Bicol Region last year.

Until now, according to Juaning and Ruping, Tecson has not returned.

They said Ka Bobby is a good friend of Suarez, who provided cash and other materials needed by their forces during and after they used them in the polls two years ago.

De Guzman said the Tan couple, who call themselves Ka Doray and Ka Jeson, are being used by the Suarezes to hide their illegal activities and NPA connections.

The two top ex-rebels also confirmed that their companions Ruben Estokado alias Ka Oyo/Miles and Ruel Custodio alias Ka Baste had worked as closed-in bodyguards of the governor and his son and were used in harassing and intimidating leaders of their political opponents.

They said they started to live at the house of the Tan couple on March 22, 2019.

Both Ruping and Juaning added that they were not sure if the governor, his son, and the Tans are still providing support to their former remaining companions who are still active in the communist group after the arrest of Estokado and Custodio on December 26, 2020.

The Tan couple and two newly recruited NPA rebels — Juanito Haboc-Guan and Noel Empleo-Ricapor — were not arrested after the governor allegedly instructed the team leader to just arrest Estokado and Custodio as both have pending warrants of arrest issued by separate courts in Quezon province.

It was learned that Custodio has pending cases of kidnapping and serious illegal detention filed by the military and the police on July 17, 2019, and was also charged with illegal possession of firearms on November 27, 2019.

Stokado, an NPA propagandist, was also charged with double murder and multiple counts of murder on September 4, 2014.

The rebels are also allegedly used by the Suarezes and Tans as their bodyguards based on statements of some residents and barangay (village) officials of Poblacion in Atimonan.

They said the house is also used by Blas-Tan in holding meetings with her staff and political coordinators.

De Guzman said he and his group are disappointed after learning that the police in Quezon filed a mere case for obstruction of justice against the Tans, which the offense is punishable only by a fine.

Section 1 under Presidential Decree 1829 provides the penalty of prison correctional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from P1,000 to P6,000, or both, shall be imposed upon any a person who knowingly or willfully obstructs impedes, frustrates, or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by committing such acts.


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